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Bill Guthridge (born July 27, 1937 in Parsons, Kansas) is a retired American basketball coach. He gained recognition after serving for 30 years as Dean Smith's assistant at the University of North Carolina. Following Dean Smith's retirement, Guthridge served as head coach of the Tar Heels for three seasons and was named national coach of the year in 1998, before retiring in 2000. [1]

Contents

Background

Guthridge attended Kansas State University, and graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics in 1960 and an M.A. in Education in 1963. He was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. While a student at Kansas State, Guthridge played guard under head coach Fred "Tex" Winter, and helped the team advance to the 1958 Final Four. After graduating from Kansas State, he coached at Scott City High School in Kansas for two seasons before returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach for Tex Winter from 1962-1967. In five years on Winter's staff, Guthridge helped lead the Wildcats to a 93-43 record, a pair of Big Eight Conference crowns and the 1964 NCAA Final Four. He also was head golf coach for the Wildcats. Following this stint, from 1967-1997 he was an assistant at the University of North Carolina under legendary head coach Dean Smith. From 1972 onward, he was Smith's top assistant. In 1976, he also served as an assistant coach to Smith as the United States won the gold medal in men's basketball at the Summer Olympics in Montreal.

As an assistant, Guthridge was renowned for his success in coaching the fundamentals of pivot play to a long series of successful UNC big men, and as the Tar Heels' primary shooting coach. Guthridge also handled many day-to-day responsibilities in the program and oversaw UNC's summer basketball camps. While serving as an assistant coach, Guthridge turned down several head coaching opportunities, preferring to remain in Chapel Hill working alongside Smith. On one occasion, he actually accepted the head coaching post at Penn State, but stood down from the post a few days later.

Head coaching career

Smith unexpectedly retired just two months before the start of the 1997-98 season, and Guthridge was named his successor. School officials stressed that Guthridge was not merely a placeholder, signing him to a five-year contract.

In his three seasons as head coach Guthridge led the Tar Heels to the NCAA Final Four twice, in the 1998 tournament and again in the 2000 tournament. In 1998, Guthridge inherited a team that had been to the 1997 Final Four the previous year under Coach Smith. With a wealth of returning talent, Guthridge instituted a "six starters" system, whereby the team's top six players, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Ed Cota, Shammond Williams, Ademola Okulaja and Makhtar N'Diaye rotated positions in the starting five. Guthridge coached that team to the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship, a school record-tying 34 wins (including 30 wins going into the NCAA Tournament—the most in school history) and an appearance in the Final Four, where they lost to Utah. Following the 1997-1998 season, several organizations named him National Coach of the Year and he received the Naismith College Coach of the Year award.

The next season, the team earned a #3 seed in the 1999 NCAA tournament, but was upset in the first round by Weber State--to date, the only time in modern NCAA Tournament history that the Tar Heels failed to win a tournament game. In 2000, the team struggled in the regular season, falling out of the polls for the first time since the start of the 1990-91 season. They finished 18-13—UNC's worst regular-season record in 11 years. However, they came alive in the 2000 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. With the 8th seed in the West Region, they upset top-seeded Stanford in the second round and continued on to the Final Four, where the Tar Heels lost to Florida. After the 2000 season, Guthridge retired from coaching.

Record as head coach

Season Overall Record ACC Record Postseason
1997-98 34-4 13-3 NCAA Final Four
1998-99 24-10 10-6 NCAA First Round
1999-2000 22-14 9-7 NCAA Final Four
All seasons 80-28 32-16 3 NCAA Appearances

[2]

See also

External links

Preceded by
Dean Smith
UNC Basketball Coaches
1997–2000
Succeeded by
Matt Doherty
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